Science & Tech

FLiRT Variants: Latest Twist in the COVID-19 Saga

  • The advent of novel variations KP.2 and KP1.1, dubbed the FLiRT variants, has sparked global worry.
  • Despite immunisation efforts, these variations provide problems, raising worries about a possible increase in COVID-19 infections.

What are the FLiRT Variants of COVID-19?

  • KP.2 and KP1.1, sometimes known as ‘FLiRT’ variations, are progeny of the Omicron JN.1, which expanded extensively over the winter of last year.

Features and Differences with Other Variants

  • New Spike Mutations: The FLiRT group has two unique mutations thought to improve the virus’s capacity to infect human cells.
  • Transmission and Evasion: Preliminary research suggests that KP.2, the more common of the two, may have greater ability to avoid immune responses triggered by vaccinations and past infections.

Are FLiRT Variants Riskier Than JN.1?

  • Increased Immune Evasion: According to research, KP.2 has a substantial ability to evade immunity from both the most recent immunisations and earlier infections.
  • Reproduction Number: KP.2 may have a larger reproduction number than JN.1, indicating a possibility for wider spread.
  • While there is no conclusive evidence that FLiRT mutations cause more severe disease, their capacity to overcome immune defences can lead to more infections and, as a result, perhaps higher hospitalisations. 

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